The Toronto Blue Jays were busy on Wednesday night, adding relief pitcher Kirby Yates on a one-year contract just before announcing the signing of outfielder George Springer.
While Springer might be the bigger catch for Toronto, Yates has a chance to become the most important member of the team’s bullpen in the 2021 season as they look to compete for a playoff berth.
The Hawaii native has been a staple of the San Diego Padres’ bullpen over the past few seasons and was one of the best relievers in the game in 2018 and 2019. Between those two seasons, Yates used a deadly splitter to compile 53 saves and a sub-2.00 ERA.
Yates battled elbow problems in 2020 and appeared in only 6 games, putting up a 12.46 ERA that was largely a reflection of his arm troubles.
If Yates is healthy, however, he has the potential to be one of the best relievers in the game and will likely take over as Toronto’s new closer if he proves himself to be ready and effective by the time Spring Training rolls around.
Yates will report to Spring Training in Dunedin, Florida, next week as he begins preparation for the upcoming season.